First responders in Olathe, Kansas, recently paid tribute to the late local seamstress who tailored their uniforms for more than 30 years.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Olathe Police Department, Olathe Fire and MED-ACT (the county’s 9-1-1 emergency services provider) acknowledged the February 16 passing of Marcia Rider, who made alterations and sewed patches onto uniforms for generations of officers at her shop in Olathe before retiring two years ago at the age of 90.
JCSO Sergeant Jesse Valdez told KSHB News that when he first began his career with the agency, he was referred to Rider.
“I’ve been here 29 years, and when you first get hired on the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, you get your uniforms, pants, tops and they would tell you to go see Marcia,” Valdez recalled.
“She loved the men and women of law enforcement,” Rider’s daughter Sheila Newbanks reflected.
Valdez said Rider handled over a thousand uniforms. Despite the heavy workload, she was always cheerful and willing to assist. “She’d take in, take out, whatever we’d need to happen — she’d help,” he said. “Whether you were a sworn employee or civilian employee, she took care of you.”
Valdez said Rider’s shop in the Olathe square often brought in hundreds of visitors who gathered to chat with her about life, work and Kansas University basketball.
“It was kind of like a barber shop for us,” Valdez added.
Valdez called Rider an “Olathe legend,” and remembered when she fixed up his bulletproof vest. “She wanted her kids to look sharp, and we did — we owe that to Marcia,” he said.
According to Newbanks, Rider treated law enforcement members like they were part of the family. “She wanted to take care of them like her kids,” she said. “She wanted to keep them safe and that was the only way she could figure out how to do it.”
“It was an honor to serve with her — she served, she had a heart for service,” Valdez said.
Following Rider’s memorial service on February 22, the JCSO’s marked units escorted her body from the funeral home to her gravesite.